Qatargas has achieved a milestone when ‘Al Safliya’ became the first Q-Flex type LNG vessel, and largest LNG vessel by cargo capacity, to transit the Panama Canal.
The Q-Flex vessel ‘Al Safliya’, with a cargo carrying capacity of 210,000 m3 of LNG, a length of 315m and breadth of 50m, successfully completed the 82km transit on May 12 according to plan, and established the “new world record”.
Commenting on the milestone, HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs, Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, who is also the President & CEO of Qatar Petroleum, said: “We are extremely proud of this achievement by Qatargas, which adds yet another benchmark to its capabilities as a safe and reliable LNG company. We wish to congratulate Qatargas and the Panama Canal Authority on achieving this historic milestone. Qatar is committed to enhancing the depth and flexibility of our global LNG supply portfolio even further, and this milestone achievement will undoubtedly lead to future business opportunities.”
Qatargas Chief Executive Officer Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa al-Thani said: “Qatargas has a rich tradition of setting records, and we are very pleased to announce that the ‘Al Safliya’ has successfully transited the Panama Canal. This achievement illustrates our commitment to premier performance and leading the LNG industry. At Qatargas, we continuously strive to innovate and optimize our business to meet the needs of current and future customers.”
This remarkable achievement followed many months of careful planning by Qatargas and the vessel Operator, Pronav Ship Management, as well as close collaboration with the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).
The Panama Canal was expanded in 2016 through the completion of new ‘Neopanamax locks’, thereby allowing LNG vessels to pass through the canal. In April 2018, the ACP announced it would accommodate vessels up to 51.25m wide, opening the prospect for Qatargas’ Q-Flex vessels to transit.
The successful transit of ‘Al Safliya’ through the Panama Canal creates future triangulation opportunities for the 31 Qatari Q-Flex vessels, allowing them to discharge cargoes in the Pacific Basin and then proceed to the Atlantic basin to load their next cargo, a Qatargas release said.